This is my standby recipe for any kind of seasonal fruit tart. The base of the tart is frangipane, a baked almond-based filling that I like more than any other cream-based fillings. Many different fruits can be used for the top as long as they bake well and are ripe. I have used apples, pears, peaches, apricots, quince, among others. This time I used plums and the tart was used in our photoshoot Saturday. Afterwards, we brought it to a dinner party and it was quickly gobbled up. It is one of the few desserts that I will probably never get tired of.
Plum Almond Tart (makes one 11-inch tart)
For the crust:
2 cups flour
6 ounces butter
5 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 ounces finely ground almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use other extracts as variations, such as almond or orange)
5-6 plums, or other fruit (apples, pears, peaches, or whatever works)
First, prepare the crust. Mix the flour, butter, sugar and salt until the butter is starting to get well incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until a dough is formed. Chill the dough for a few minutes before rolling. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (or between two sheets of parchment – that’s what I do) into a circle slightly bigger than your tart pan (an 11-inch fluted pan). Put it into your pan and press the dough into the corners all the way around, and remove any overhanging dough from the sides. Patch any holes in the crust with the dough scraps.
Now the crust needs to be baked. Blind baking works best. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chill the tart shell for a few minutes. Line it with a large circle of parchment paper. Now fill it up with some kind of uncooked beans or rice. This will prevent the shell from getting misshapen during baking. Bake it in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, take out the beans/rice and the paper together (it can be saved for the next time), and bake again for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is cooked, but has not darkened. Let the crust cool while you prepare the filling. Leave the oven on.
To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until light. Beat in the eggs, followed by the flour, almonds, and extract. Beat until light. Spread evenly in the cooled tart shell. Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Cut each into somewhat thin slices. Arrange the slices, overlapping, into concentric circles going all the way to the middle, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edge. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or so, until the filling in the middle of the tart is fully cooked – it will feel firm to the touch much like when a cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature for several hours before slicing.